The DXC Blogs – What Would Google Do (WWGD)?


Originally posted internally 12 Jan 2016:

What Would Google Do? It’s a good generic question when considering any problem in the IT space.

Often the answer is pretty obvious, where Google’s already doing something (and better still if it’s published the hows, whats and whys). Other times there’s a shape of an answer, where Google can be seen to be doing something, but it’s less clear how they’re doing it.

There is also a generic answer. Google is a data driven organisation (arguably often to the point of damaging itself and its users), so the answer to all questions is driven by data. If there’s no data then the first job is to get the data – making the mechanism to source the data if need be.



The alternative to WWGD is the HiPPO – the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion. There are a few problems with HiPPOs, which is why they’re best consigned to 60’s fictional characters like Don Draper rather than the decision making processes of modern organisations:

  • HiPPOs are expensive
  • HiPPOs are a bottleneck to decision making
  • HiPPOs are subject to all kinds of human frailties that might misalign their opinions with the realities of the world around them, not least the ‘tyranny of expertise’

Google have a saying for dealing with this, ‘don’t bring an opinion to a data fight’.


As we build out operational data mining (ODM) and built the operations engineering team (OE, now OE&E) to support that there was a palpable shift in the culture of the organisation from being opinion driven to data driven. This has been empowering for front line staff, and generally made DXC Technology less political and hence a nicer place to work. As we set about building OE there were two aspects of Google practice that we borrowed from heavily. The first was Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) and the second was Google’s ‘data bazaar’ Goods.

Original comments


HiPPO is the road to irrelevance.

‘The best ideas win, independent of titles: In a social business, ideas and information flow horizontally, vertically, from the bottom and from the top; throughout the business. Ideas are like sounds, and they should be heard through the seams of the social fabric. In the absence of sound, ideas die. The most damaging syndrome is the HIPPO (highest paid person’s opinion) syndrome, whereby all the decisions are ultimately dictated by the biggest title. The best ideas must win. That’s the biggest benefit of being social.’

Recognizing Good Ideas (link broken by demise of C3, referenced HBR’s ‘Innovation Isn’t an Idea Problem‘)

Re-examine how you tackle tough problems, and make important decisions.  “Decision Making By Hippo”  that is, following the lead of the most highly paid person simply because they are in that position, is a very bad idea.  Instead, the intelligence and capability of all the organization members can, and should, be tapped.- Andrew McAfee

If only CSC knew what CSC knows (link broken by demise of C3, referenced HP’s former CEO Lew Platt, “If only HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times more productive.”)

LEF paper ‘Energizing and Engaging Employees – Social media as a source of management innovation‘ (page 35)


One Response to “The DXC Blogs – What Would Google Do (WWGD)?”

  1. 1 The DXC Blogs – DevOps in GIS | Chris Swan's Weblog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: